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Tourism Industry’s Big Red Menace is…

There is a menace terrorizing the entire Las Vegas tourism and gaming industry. According to a recent column by David Schwartz, director for the Center for Gaming Research at UNLV, this menace poses a ginormous threat to what he calls our “economic ecosystem” – whatever that is.

And “just like (how) kudzu and other invasive species crowd out native plants and obliterate existing ecosystems,” this menace on the Strip and at the Fremont Street Experience “is having a negative impact” on the very economic lifeblood of our community.

What is this menace threatening to bring on economic Armageddon if left unchecked? Prostitutes? Drug dealers? Pick-pockets? Purse snatchers? Nope. It’s….

Elmo.

And Superman.

And both Fat Elvis and Thin Elvis.

That’s right. Costumed street performers with whom tourists LOVE to have their pictures taken, just like at Disneyland with Mickey Mouse and at any shopping mall at Christmas time with Santa. But according to Mr. Schwartz, “reining in” these “unlicensed and untaxed hustlers” is imperative to save Las Vegas, no matter what ACLU and other “guarantors of our constitutional freedoms” think.

You see, according to Mr. Schwartz every dollar donated to a costumed street performer is a dollar less going to existing taxi, hotel, restaurant and nudie bar businesses in the city. As such, Mr. Schwartz is urging the government to take drastic and immediate action to stop these entrepreneurs from making an honest living.

Mr. Schwartz believes the government should require that “anyone in the business of posing for dollars undergo the same licensing and background investigation that customer-contact employees inside casinos do.” He also wants to restrict “the location and number” of costumed street performers “doing business along the Strip.”

Are you kidding me?

The government handed down to us by the likes of Tommy Jefferson and Benny Franklin is going to restrict, license, tax, regulate and control the number of people who dress up as Batman and Robin and pose for photographs? Has our respect and appreciation for individual freedom and liberty deteriorated so far that such an obscene proposal would actually be put forward, let alone be taken seriously?

What’s next? Licensing and regulating weekend car washes by the Cub Scouts?

Don’t laugh. It’s coming. A recent Las Vegas Review-Journal story outlined concerns that mobile car washes in parking lots aren’t conforming to Clark County Code chapter 24.40 of the Clark County Water Quality Program by failing to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit from the Environmental Protection Agency.

What the….? To wash a freaking car?!! Are you kidding me?

Should American citizens be forced to pay a fee and get the government’s permission to work and provide for their families? Heck, no.

Should you be required to get a government license to perform landscaping services? Nope. Should you be required to have a government license to provide bookkeeping services? Nope. Should you be required to get a government license to rent a storefront and sell antiques? Nope. Should you have to have a government license to cut hair, do house-cleaning or sell thermo-nuclear weapons?

Nope, nope and….well, OK. The exception that proves the rule.

Seriously, though, it’s not so much the amount of money the government licenses cost, but the amount of government regulation, control, red tape, interference and oftentimes pure harassment that comes with that government license. Every profession requiring government licensure is a new government bureaucracy requiring more government bureaucrats….which inevitably results in higher licensing fees and/or taxes.

Enough is enough.

If politicians want more people to work and pay taxes, then stop putting unnecessary government restrictions and controls on the ability of people to earn a living for themselves and their families. Any politician who is serious about reducing unemployment needs to get serious about reducing the amount of control and regulation the government has over the private sector.

Remember: Government is, always has been and always will be the problem, not the solution. So get off Elmo’s back!